Waking up with the Kings: October 21 - LA Kings Insider

Why add anything when this piece by Helene pretty much nails it down to the punctuation? Recounting Saturday’s game isn’t too important at a micro level; again, it’s not hard to start thinking in broader themes. For a team that takes so much pride in preparation, approach and execution, how do investment and competitiveness again become buzzwords just one game after they had been questioned publicly by the coach? John Stevens spoke honestly by saying that didn’t have an answer for what took place, and he’s speaking for a number of people who spent their Saturday watching the Kings’ 5-1 loss to the Sabres. The schedule couldn’t have been cushioned any better than returning home from a substandard road trip to play home games against teams that didn’t make the playoffs in each of the last two seasons and hadn’t won in regulation at Staples Center since the Ziggy Palffy days. From there, there was a carbon copy introduction: Los Angeles couldn’t take advantage of an early power play and yielded the game’s first goal a handful of minutes in. They’ve now trailed by multiple goals in five of eight games this season and haven’t led since the Montreal game. Something (-things!) is (are!) very off.

Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

The Kings are low on skill, and it’s not exactly clear when that infusion will come beyond and including Gabe Vilardi, who has appeared in one development camp but no training camps or preseason games since being drafted in 2017. Los Angeles has done a good job adding intriguing depth through fragmentary but important signings to bolster their prospect pool through a number of successful pitches to NCAA and junior free agents and hit the nail on the head in Alex Iafallo, the team’s best forward through the first eight games. Rasmus Kupari is shaping towards being a realistic target to provide some of that skill, and really, the Kings can’t afford a miss with either Vilardi or Kupari. There are only three first round picks from their last 10 drafts currently suiting up for the team – Derek Forbort, Tanner Pearson and Adrian Kempe – and two of them were selected 29th and 30th overall. Apart from the first rounders, there are only three lineup regulars from any of the last eight drafts currently getting a regular shift in the NHL this season: Michael Amadio, Colin Miller and Valentin Zykov. For the last four years, the team has not been able to successfully counterbalance the important departures in production nor the emotional gravity from certain dressing room pillars, and while Ilya Kovalchuk’s skill is sorely needed, there is more of a root issue of not having been able to draft or cultivate production and gravity from within.

Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

The Kings now have an opportunity to reassemble what is askew, and if you ask the coaching fraternity about Stevens, the universal appraisal of his ethos is that he’s well-prepared. This is a man who loves video and dissecting what he sees with his assistants and is one who welcomes dissent and will challenge others through cross-examination, which is something sorely needed. There are challenges right now in execution, absolutely. But the tactical challenge seemed to come up short in comparison to the more emotional challenges of the last two games, and it’s a worrying sign that, given the types of goals Buffalo scored, Los Angeles was once again beaten at their traditionally superior defense of the goalmouth and behind-the-net trenches.

Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

-Lead photo via Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.